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Social Programs

All profits and donations are used to fund social programs with a focus on women's empowerment for our artisan communities in Guatemala!

Fair trade women weavers Guatemala. Yabal Handicrafts board of directors.

There are many obstacles that exist for women and rural communities in Guatemala; illiteracy, lack of education, limited business skills, and a lack of job opportunities. Many families survive on less than $100 a month, especially in the region of Santa Catarina Ixtahuacan. And women have even less opportunities for work and education than men.

Through our non-profit partner, Yabal Guatemala, we support women and community partners through social and economic projects. 80% of the Board of Directors is made up of women leaders from our partner communities. All profits from sales from the Yabal weaving social enterprise are re-invested into Yabal Guatemala’s social programs for the artisan communities with whom we collaborate.

Women's Business Training Program

Yabal Guatemala’s women's entrepreneurship program focuses on skill-building for women in order to develop new businesses within their own communities that they can manage from home in order to increase income. Workshop themes include, accounting, math and budgeting, new product creation, customer service, marketing, self-confidence and leadership training.

Savings Circles and Community Micro-credit fund

In 2010, Yabal started a fund to lend money to families in one of the artisan communities in order to provide them with capital in order to rent farmland or start community businesses. In 2018, Yabal turned over the management of the fund to a community- run leadership council. As a group, they began charging small interest on loans in order to grow their capital with the dream to buy communal land for reforestation in the future. In 2018, with the support from Catholic Relief Services, Yabal Guatemala trained four facilitators from the communities of Cajola, Pacutama, and Chuicutama in women’s saving circles methodology. These four women leaders have since started savings groups with their fellow weavers to save money collectively and create capital within their communities. The focus is on saving money each week and then lending money out to members of the community. The earnings from interest are then shared amongst all at the end of each cycle. It is a way to allow rural women to access rapid cash advances when necessary, while keeping the interest earnings within the same community, as opposed to being paid to a third party bank or micro-credit loan organization.

New Mothers' Fund

In 2015, the Yabal social enterprise began the New Mothers Fund to offer pregnant women weavers maternity leave. During the last month of a woman's pregnancy and the first two months after she gives birth, it is a risk to her and her baby's health for her to continue weaving due to the pressure placed on her waist by the back-strap loom. However, the lack of income during these three months can place economic stress on her and her family- especially as she prepares for a new child. To minimize the temptation to continue weaving at risk to the woman's or baby's health, Yabal started the maternity benefit program.

Food Security Programs

In order to increase access to fresh food, Yabal Guatemala focuses on improving food security for families in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. Many families in rural partner communities lack farmland in order to produce their own food. Because of this challenge, Yabal Guatemala supports projects that allow families to produce food in limited spaces. Some of these projects include family vegetable gardens, oyster mushroom cultivation, fruit tree cultivation, on-going reforestation projects, and most recently, emergency food donations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Each year Yabal meets with the community to assess current needs in order to guide food security program decisions.

Educational Scholarships

Yabal Guatemala gives educational scholarships to gifted youth each year in order to attend middle school and high school. This money helps cover the costs of transportation to and from school, school uniforms and supplies, tuition, and/or inscription fees.

Yabal's women weavers dream of giving their kids something that they never had- an education. The women and their families understand that an education will be able to give their children better options for the future. Sadly, because of the prohibitive costs of education for rural communities in Guatemala, many families are not able to send all of their children to school. In some cases, they only have the resources for one, if any, of their children to finish high school and the others are only able to complete 6th grade. Because of this, Yabal uses funds to invest in education and help these families provide a better, more sustainable, future for the next generation.

Thank You!

With Your Purchase

You increase the opportunities and quality of life for women in the Western Highlands of Guatemala